Gajanand Rajput, the Indian Shaolin Temple Warrior Disciple

by : Gajanand Rajput

AHMEDABAD - Gajanand Rajput gives the impression that he wouldn't hurt a fly. But looks are deceptive. Behind the placid demeanour is a man who can take down bullies twice his size with a single punch.

Rajput (28) is a 35th generation Shaolin Temple warrior disciple, the only Indian at that. He was trained at the Shaolin temple in Henan, China and even bore a Chinese name, Shi Heng Chang, meaning 'Long time relative', bestowed on him by his Master.

The first generation of warrior monks began practising Wushu in the 11th century AD. The cult was outlawed after the monks started a revolution in China with their unbelievable fighting skills, as Shaolin Kung-Fu achieved notoriety.

"I began practising Wushu as a hobby 15 years back but it soon became my occupation and lifelong obsession," says Rajput, also general secretary of the Martial Arts Authority of India.

Wushu has many disciplines like unarmed combat, sword-play, staff-play and spear-play and Rajput is equally adept at all of them. "Wushu is as much a training regimen for the mind as for the body. Not only am I more confident physically but I am also more focused mentally because of it," says Rajput.

His obsession opened new avenues for him and he recently worked on the TV serial 'Prithviraj Chauhan' as an action choreographer.

"Not only is Gajanand Sir very accomplished in Wushu but his knowledge about martial arts in general is phenomenal," says Gaurav Rokade (24), a BPO staffer and disciple of Rajput's. Rajput has been awarded a doctorate from the International University of Sport and Martial Arts Science, New Jersey because of his proficiency in Wushu.

"When I was in China, I saw people of ages 4-80 years practising martial arts, I think we in India too should make martial arts more popular. I dream that one day martial arts will be taught in every school in the country." With people like him dedicating their lives to it, that day may not be too far off.